This Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Renewable Energy Knowledge Exchange funded project, conducted in partnership between Plymouth Marine Laboratory and the RSPB aimed to: Assess and map delivery of key ecosystem services (ES) within the greater Severn estuary and Bristol Channel (Figure 1).
Ecosystem services are the benefits people obtain from the natural environment. The habitats within the Severn estuary and inner Bristol Channel provide significant resources from cycling and storage of carbon through to flood prevention, income from recreational activities and inspiration for cultural activities. The outputs of the project provide a new set of ideas and material to aid better informed decision making in the greater Severn.
The scope of the project was to utilise the three month project period to take a broad scale approach to identify priority locations for the supply of key ES. Gaps in knowledge and barriers to assessment (limitations) were highlighted to aid future projects and target future research to support ES assessment in the Severn and inner Bristol Channel region. Identification of hotspots for key ES was intended to provide developers, regulators and other stakeholders with an insight into locations and importance of these sites and begin to provide a baseline to examine future benefits and dis-benefits from developments.
Project Objectives: 1. Identify and assess five key ES and related activities provided within the greater Severn Estuary, at least one of which should be a cultural service. 2. Map ES and related activities within a Geographical Information System. 3. Explore potential valuation approaches to add scales to the benefits of the services. 4. Communicate the findings to key stakeholders